dressed standing there at the doorway, blocking it, while Mr.
Christian waited in the hall.
" My house is burning up," he told Mr. Christian.
" How was it?" Mr. Christian demanded.
" They tried to make me get rid of the negro croppers on
my place," Mr. Munn said. " I wouldn't do it, so they burned
the house down."
"You want me to come with you?"
"No," Mr. Munn replied. "There's nothing you can do.
Or me, either, I reckon. But"—and he looked up an instant
from lacing his boot—" let me find out who it was and-----"
His voice trailed off. He tied the laces.
" Let me find out," Mr. Christian said.
Mr. Christian followed him halfway down the stairs. Very
loudly, Mr. Munn called, " You're going to lock up after me,
aren't you?" That, he thought, would give Lucille Christian
"No," Mr. Christian answered, "it don't need it."
As he rode away Mr. Munn cursed himself for his stupidity
in not letting Mr. Christian come with him. That might
have made it easy for Lucille Christian. Or again, it might
not. Mr. Christian might have wanted to go to her room to
tell her he was leaving. Then he thought he should have
asked Mr. Christian to saddle his mare for him. That would
have worked it. But Mr. Christian would go on back to bed
now. That would fix everything.
It was near sun when he reached his place. The flames
had been down for a considerable time, but the heap of
smouldering timbers still winked palely in the gathering
dawn. One of the cedars nearest the house had caught fire
and had burned to a blackened spike from which rose a thin
trail of smoke, straight upward. Over at one side a group of
negroes were standing about, looking at the ruins. On the
other side, two men held the bridles of some saddled horses,
and closer to the ruins a group of men stood. They were
cavalrymen. The lieutenant who was in charge introduced
himself. He was named Prentiss, he said, and he just wanted